6 Questions for Rising Star Floral Brand High Camp Supply

Floral brand High Camp Supply's signature box.Those lucky enough to have received a floral delivery from High Camp Supply have experienced the bliss of opening the company’s signature high-gloss box to be engulfed in the fragrance of gardenias. The purveyor of elegant blossoms was founded in 2014 when friends and next-door neighbors Susan Hanson and Margaret Wells bonded over a mutual love of that sublime blossom. The two were inspired to create a floral delivery business that specializes in luxury cuttings, and High Camp Supply was born. Here, Hanson and Wells share the philosophy behind their blooming business.

Your signature flower is the gardenia. Why did you choose that fragile flower?
MW: Personally I think gardenias are a perfect flower. White goes with everything, the aroma is divine, and you can put them in vases or float them in bowls.
SH: They have such a range—casual or formal, they’re always appropriate. And they’re charming and interactive: People will reach into a bowl, pick one out and add it to their look. They’re adaptable.

Gardenias are notoriously difficult to ship. How did you ensure they’d arrive fresh from the half-dozen Californian and Hawaiian farms where they’re grown?
MW: We’ve pioneered the shipping process for gardenias. We started with an incredibly difficult flower and spent six months learning, by trial and error, what they need to be happy on their journey. For example, the boxes don’t let in air or light, and we came up with our perfect “cut point,” for ensuring they arrive a brighter white than is typical. We’re really specific about what flowers to use and how they’re grown, how they are laid into the box, how the boxes should look. We expect perfection so our customers will be surprised and happy with the quality they receive.

What is so unique about your shipping process?
SH: Normally, people call the local florist and say they want to ship flowers and they don’t really know what they are going to get. We created a service that didn’t exist—the option of supplying luxury cuttings overnight.

How do clients arrange the blossoms and vines?
SH: It's as if you walked out into a beautiful garden and cut the bounty and brought it in and used it for tablescapes. It’s much lovelier if you let people put the flowers into their own personal vessels and bowls—grandmother’s teacup or a silver vase, a single blossom in the powder room.

You've said that High Camp Supply was born over a bowl of gardenias and a bottle of Champagne. How did those items inspire your business?
SH: We realized that those are the things that make memories—the concept of creating beauty and celebrating with everyday luxury at home. Instead of going out and spending a lot of effort and money, it’s about getting dressed up to stay home and have fun with your family and friends.

You chose the name High Camp and a compass rose logo because they express how everyone should find his own “true north.” Why do you feel so strongly about that lifestyle?
SH: It’s the concept of doing something just for yourself, about finding balance, being your own best self. We branded the company based on experiences, not things.

A version of this article appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Rising Star: High Camp Supply.

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